CultureHISTORY: The “Lost Friends” Ads - New Orleans, LA (1879-1880)
A heartbreaking piece featuring the newly digitized collection of
original advertisements from a New Orleans newspaper between November
1879 and December 1880. Because it was part of the institution of
slavery to split up families, after the Civil War, African Americans
began the search for their lost kin. Once they were free, this was one
of the few options former slaves had to try and find their families.
Writing ads in local newspapers. Just another piece of American History.
Here it is! The big archaeology secret I’ve been not allowed to talk about for nearly 6 months…
I’m part of a voluntary organisation called the Rosemarkie Caves Project, and we’ve been doing small excavations on some of the caves that line the south coast of the Black Isle to investigate their potential for archaeology. Last September, on our last day of digging (typical!) we uncovered something truly incredible… The excellently preserved remains of a pretty violently killed Pictish man, tucked into a small nook of the cave. He was on his back with his ankles crossed and arms down by his sides, boulders on his hands and between his legs - a very odd position that screams “ritual”.
Prof Sue Black and her team - forensic anthropologists who usually don’t deal with archaeological remains but those of the more recent past such as identifying victims of war crimes - took on the task of examining the skeleton and detailing his violent demise (the article has the full account). They also created an incredible facial reconstruction of the man - handsome guy.
Archaeologically speaking, human remains in Scotland are generally poorly preserved due to the soil’s acidity. These remains were from a sandy context, protected from the elements by the cave itself, and are perhaps unique in their excellent preservation for their Pictish date.
There’s still a lot more work to be done - we’re waiting for isotope analysis to be carried out to determine a little more about the individual’s origins, and eventually he’ll be written into the broader context of Pictish archaeology, a section of history we still don’t know very much about. What he was doing there and why he was killed we may never know (Sacrifice? Murder? Did the people carrying out the metal working nearby know about the remains, were they the ones who killed him? So many questions!) - but we do know there are plenty more caves to be investigated… Who knows what else we’ll find in them!
The Civil War is remembered in American literature by works such as The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane, March by Geraldine Brooks, and Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier. But the years following the war, Reconstruction, also offer a rich backdrop that have informed some of the greatest art in the country’s canon. Books set in Reconstruction Era America ask how to rebuild after atrocity, how to love after war, and how to move toward a more perfect union. Check out some of our favorites.
On this day in 1937, Margaret Mitchell wins Pulitzer Prize for “Gone With the Wind”.
Margaret Mitchell was born on November 8, 1900, in Atlanta, Georgia, into an Irish-Catholic family. At an early age, even before she could write, Mitchell loved to make up stories, and she would later write her own adventure books, crafting their covers out of cardboard. She wrote hundreds of books as a child, but her literary endeavors weren’t limited to novels and stories: At the private Woodberry School, Mitchell took her creativity in new directions, directing and acting in plays she wrote.
In 1918, Mitchell enrolled at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. Four months later, tragedy would strike when Mitchell’s mother died of influenza. Mitchell finished out her freshman year at Smith and then returned to Atlanta to prepare for the upcoming debutante season, during which she met Berrien Kinnard Upshaw. The couple was married in 1922, but it ended abruptly four months later when Upshaw left for the Midwest and never returned.
The same year she was married, Mitchell landed a job with the Atlanta Journal Sunday magazine, where she ended up writing nearly 130 articles. Mitchell would get married a second time during this period, wedding John Robert Marsh in 1925. As seemed to be the case in Mitchell’s life, though, yet another good thing was to come to an end too quickly, as her journalist career ended in 1926 due to complications from a broken ankle. With her broken ankle keeping Mitchell off her feet, however, in 1926 she began writing Gone With the Wind. Perched at an old sewing table, and writing the last chapter first and the other chapters randomly, she finished most of the book by 1929. A romantic novel about the Civil War and Reconstruction, Gone With the Wind is told from a Southern point of view, informed by Mitchell’s family and steeped in the history of the South and the tragedy of the war.
In July 1935, New York publisher Macmillan offered her a $500 advance and 10 percent royalty payments. Mitchell set to finalizing the manuscript, changing characters names (Scarlett was Pansy in earlier drafts), cutting and rearranging chapters and finally naming the book Gone With the Wind, a phrase from “Cynara!, a favorite Ernest Dowson poem. Gone With the Wind was published in 1936 to huge success and took home the 1937 Pulitzer. Mitchell became an overnight celebrity, and the landmark film based on her novel came out just three years later and went on to become a classic (winning eight Oscars and two special Oscars ).
During World War II (1941-45), Mitchell had no time to write, as she worked for the American Red Cross. And on August 11, 1949, she was struck by a car while crossing a street and died five days later. Mitchell was inducted into Georgia Women of Achievement in 1994 and into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame in 2000. Gone With the Wind was her only novel.